Sunday’s 35-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was absolutely horrible. Embarassing, horrendous, whatever you want to call it. The Bengals were outplayed on every level and I simply want to forget that loss. Marvin Lewis and the rest of the team seem determined to move on from it as well. Hell, they were eager to forget the game even when the 4th quarter had just started. That’s why QB Bruce Gradkowski was put in for most of the 4th quarter, not because Dalton was too hurt to play. Yesterday’s postgame press conference was ridden with “We just want to move on” and “we are looking forward to Houston”.
But, this post isn’t a rant about how poorly the Bengals played yesterday. One good thing came out of all the NFL action that took place yesterday, and it’s that the Bengals still hold the 6th wild card playoff spot. Either the Ravens or Steelers will surely take the first wild card spot, leaving the five 7-5 teams to fight it out for that remaining spot. Those teams are the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals hold the best AFC Conference record at 6-4, which is the only thing keeping them above the Raiders, Jets, and Titans. The storybook Denver Broncos actually took the division lead from the Oakland Raiders yesterday, which is a good thing because the Broncos conference record (6-3) is actually better than the Bengals. It will get murky down the line, but the Bengals have 3 of their last 4 games at home. Two games are against the 9-3 Houston Texans and 9-3 Baltimore Ravens, but they also face 2-10 St. Louis and 5-7 Arizona.
#5 STEELERS (9-3): Cleveland (4-8), @ SF (10-2), St. Louis (2-10), @ Cleveland (4-8)… 20-28 (.417)
#6 BENGALS (7-5): Houston (9-3), @ St. Louis (2-10), Arizona (5-7), Baltimore (9-3)… 25-23 (.521)
#7 TITANS (7-5): New Orleans (8-3), @ Indianapolis (0-12), Jacksonville (3-8), @ Houston (9-3)… 20-26 (.435)
#8 RAIDERS (7-5): @ Green Bay (12-0), Detroit (7-4), @ Kansas City (5-7), San Diego (4-7)… 28-18 (.609)
#9 JETS (7-5): Kansas City (5-7), @ Philadelphia (4-8), NYG (6-6), @ Miami (4-8)… 19-29 (.396)